The area of what has become known as Alice Springs …

Comment on Todd River: will we stand by and let the worst happen? by Hal Duell.

The area of what has become known as Alice Springs is currently experiencing its third social evolutionary change. Probably this evolution is the main reason why we can no longer have a wild bush river.
Where we live was first a pristine wilderness, and at that time the river would have truly been a wild bush river.
In the first change the area became Mbantua, a word that I understand simply means a meeting place. The changes from what was before would have been minimal. The wild and the bush qualities would have undergone almost no change.
In the second change, Mbantua became A Town Like Alice. Those living in Mbantua would have been shocked and resentful, and they resisted. Their river became the Todd River. It was partially tamed by the emergence of an outback town with its connecting causeways and bridges, its roads and railroads. But a small population would have allowed the wild bush river to remain mostly a wild bush river.
In the third change, the one we are living through today, A Town Like Alice is becoming Alice Springs, a fully urban multicultural Australian municipality. And the pressures of urban life, not all of them a comfortable experience, dictate that the wild and the bush be tamed and set aside for the healthy growth of the greater municipality.
Again there are some who are shocked and resentful, and who are resisting this latest change.
There are kilometers of river both north and south of Alice where biodiversity will continue to thrive. Setting aside a mere five kilometres threatens no species’ survival.
Waterholes, our billabongs, abound in the ranges east and west of Alice. We have our own recreation and a tourist industry that depends on their good health.
To take a whipper snipper to buffel grass to reduce the potential for tree-eating fires is not to make a lawn.
If the sand in Heavitree Gap is now one meter higher than it once was, doesn’t it follow that the riverbed upstream from the Gap is also higher? And wouldn’t lowering it allow more floodwater to escape before breaking the banks and flooding the town?
Rerouting the Ghan and elevating the highway would certainly increase the Todd’s flow, but where will that money come from?
Does anyone still think the culverts at the Taffy Pick crossing are a good idea?
The idea of a River Curator certainly has merit, but only if the curator understands the Todd River is a living, vibrant component of Alice Springs and not a museum where the artifacts must be shielded from threatening change. I would also hope a curator would be employed by our Town Council as that is the only democratically elected body in Alice answerable to all the town’s residents.

Hal Duell Also Commented

Todd River: will we stand by and let the worst happen?
I’m very glad to hear that the Athel Pines still in Alice will be going soon. Having seen what they did in the Finke River around Horseshoe Bend homestead, I cannot find any sympathy for them at all.
About the other trees Mike says are listed as weeds by Greening Australia, I have no opinion other than to hope that if they are removed, they are replaced so we can retain a riverside parkland along Stott Tce. That area really is a well-used and much loved pride of the river.
Have the seeds dropped into the Todd River by these mature exotics resulted in new growth downstream? Or will they be forced to go just because they are something new, just because they haven’t been here forever and a day?
I hope Greening Australia is not listing as weeds any tree not originally a native of Central Australia. I would hate to see a crusading nutter insist Alice lose the citrus and mulberry trees so many of us have in our yards and eat from when in fruit.

Todd River: will we stand by and let the worst happen?
I agree with you about the necessity to control weeds in the Todd River. Mexican Poppy and Athol Pine would be among the front line offenders. I am sure you would agree that they need to be eradicated wherever they are found in or adjacent to the river system.

Todd River: will we stand by and let the worst happen?
According to the Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia, the Todd River is 272km long. A mere 5km flows through Alice Springs between the Telegraph Station Reserve and Heavitree Gap.
I am intrigued by Jane Clark’s question – how long until the river system reaches the tipping point? How many years do we actually have left?
For a lot of the old trees, time’s up. The arsonists have done for them.
But for the watercourse itself, it will remain a watercourse even if the riverbed fills with silt, spills out into the town and Alice reaches a tipping point.
To argue against doing anything is akin to the climate change deniers. Good arguments can be deployed to challenge the science of climate change, but meanwhile the arctic sea ice is shrinking, the glaciers are melting, etc.
In Alice Springs, the Todd is being choked by sand islands anchored by couch and buffel, the trees are being burned out by arsonists and the Town Council needs to grasp the nettle and assume control.
But then we come to Jane’s other question – who pays?
Good question, that.

Recent Comments by Hal Duell

Gallery business case far from ‘well underway’
@ Ray, Posted August 19, 2018 at 5:50 pm
Exactly! I could not agree with you more.

Town Council riven by conflict, lack of leadership
Just after midnight last night I was returning home from a shift stocking shelves, and I decided to travel up Gap Road. Suddenly, WHOOSH!, a wagon wheel passed me.
And I thought to myself, ‘Self, I wonder what wagon that wheel has just come off of?’

No ‘comprehensive business case’ yet for gallery
I think that whether the art gallery is eventually built somewhere in Alice or, as seems more and more likely, in Adelaide, the whole exercise will go down as a textbook study in how NOT to progress a major project.
I don’t know what this means for the Gunner government, but the longer he pushes it, the more the fable of Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby spring to mind.

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What! A social engagement with the PM in preference to a local issue that really matters. Onya, Jimmie and Jamie, ya pair of wannabees.

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Onya, Rex. If ever there is a local theatrical adaptation of The Silver Skates I hope you take the leading role.

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